Preload construction takes place at the end of 20th Street Wednesday, through BX Creek Delta Park, for the Stickle Road extension. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

Wetland getting buried

BX Creek Delta Park is getting dumped on

Environmentalists are fuming as a contentious road project proceeds.

The Ministry of Transportation has started depositing fill at BX Creek Delta Park as part of an extension between 20th Street and Stickle Road.

“I feel that it is tragic, unnecessary and wrong,” said Keli Westgate, with the Sustainable Environment Network Society.

“It’s a sad day for the protected species in this place as well as the community who has enjoyed this wetland and are devastated to see it ruined.”

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club also remains opposed to the 20th Street extension.

“Our petition to spare the wetland has now collected more than 1,000 signatures of people who agree the wetland should be spared and that the road is unnecessary,” said Harold Sellers, with NONC.

“Building this road is a waste of taxpayers’ money and will cost more tax dollars to maintain.”

The ministry insists that a comprehensive environmental management plan has been completed and all necessary environmental approvals are in place.

“Mitigative and offsetting measures will include re-vegetation and erosion control, building new wetland habitat and having an environmental monitor on site when work is being done in sensitive areas,” states a ministry release.

The preload could be in place for up to two years.

While the preload is in place, the existing boardwalk off of 20th Street will be closed and replaced with a temporary gravel path to maintain public access.

Along with this, the ministry will initiate a tender for works at Highway 97 and Stickle Road either this fall or spring. This component of the project will include restricting left-turns from Stickle on to the highway, but a timeline for the work is not determined yet.